I see some people have found this page. I've been left a few comments while this has been fairly inactive, which is nice encouragement. I'm reqesting a bit of feedback; if you could be of assistance that'd be great; tell me if you find this blog to be a useful resource (so far on the brief amount of content) and if you like my reviews and writing style etc. It's also hard for me to keep finding decent subjects, maybe send me things you want reviewed, I only like a certain amount of guitars and extras, but everyone is different and I'm sure there are other guitars of which a review would suit you more. Leave me a reply on this post, that'd be fantastic, thanks!
So for the first time in this blog, we wander into amp territory, and we start with a fine piece of equipment, the Blackstar HT-5. This amp came into my knowledge through its impressive reviews all over the internet, mainly at Ultimate Guitar, where there is a thread dedicated to the owners of this fine amp head. It is considered by many to be by far the best sounding amp in it's price range. It retails in the UK at roughly £400, which makes it far from cheap, but for a tube amp, it's very well priced. Tube amps are superior to speaker amps in every single way, and tone is just so much cleaner. Now, this Blackstar HT-5 is a 5 watt head. So you're probably thinking, 5 watts? That's tiny. Well yes, it is, but that is the point of this amp, it is a home practice amp or it can be used in a studio. It is not meant to be a facemelter. The point behind its wattage being so low is that, when a tube amp is turned up to it's highest volumes, it produces it's best sound, this amp is quieter, so you can play it on its top-end to get those great tones, but at the same time, you won't be able to hear it from a mile away, as would be the case if you went and bought something like the 100 watt Peavey Valveking. At 5 watt, it's not the ideal amp for gigging, but it will work if it is mic'd up through a PA system. This is highly recommended, you'll be able to share the great tone of this amp with the world.
So, about the head. Well, it's 5 watt as you know. It has two channels, a clean channel and an overdrive channel, that you can interchange between using a foot-switch. The foot-switch is included when you by the HT-5. It has a setting called the ISF, which stands for Infinite Shape Feature. This feature is amazing, it allows you to change between a UK and a US sound, and there is a clear difference, it it sounds great. You can get that classic gain from British metal, it is in essence a EQ, it allows you to either get that British Marhsall sound or that American Mesa Boogie sound, what better? It has all the controls you'd expect, gain, volume, treble, middle, bass, and it also comes with an effects loop, you really do get a lot for your money with this amp. Unlike most amps below half a grand, you actually get a good distortion sound from the amp itself with the Blackstar, you can make it more gainy or such by adding in pedals, such as an Ibanez Tubescreemer, but it isn't all that necessary, this is a great amp from stock, just plug your guitar straight in, EVH style, or so he claims.
The Blackstar HT-5 can be bought with two 10 inch cabs that are also manufactured by Blackstar, this is the Blackstar HT-5 mini stack. The Blackstar cabs are rated highly, however are not rated the best, some may want to just get the head an use cabs of their own, however for their price, the Blackstar cabs are very much worth considering, they are celestion, and they do sound very good.
I highly recommend this amp to anyone who wants that tube quality, without paying a grand, and who wants to be able to use the amp at home as well as at gigs and band practice. it sounds fantastic, it's very affordable, and it is styled very well. A full stack in your bedroom? How cool is that! It'll be a great show off piece, for its sound and it's style, you'll really look the part, and anyone who hears you play will be very pleased by the sound to their ears.
So good people, what do you think of Blackstar products, and the HT-5? Had a chance to play one, share your knowledge, thanks.
Times change, and in the short time I've been running this blog, I've been doing lots of research on all guitars in general, and so after lots of reviews and opinions, it would appear my desire for a Les Paul Studio is maybe not the most suitable desire, as the Les Paul Studio models seem to have not the greatest track record for build quality, and time and time again I've been told to just save up the extra cash and get a standard. This makes sense, as it's the guitar of guitarists, the top quality product in the market. I've come to a narrow minded view of wanted guitars now, and the Les Paul Goldtop is the only thing I want, I would do anything to get hold of one of these, I'm currently contemplating how to get one while I'm writing this very article. Where does this desire come from? Well, when I started playing guitar, I just thought the Les Paul design was plain and unadventurous, but after playing for a few years now I have matured into the mould of the more experienced guitarist, and have come to appreciate the quality of the Les Paul Standard. Just holding one you can feel the quality, with one in my hand, I just feel like I've accomplished something. They're so classy and prestigious, half of buying a Les Paul is just so you can be a Les Paul owner, and you can tell everyone you own a real Les Paul. You get what you pay for, and so for me, getting an Epiphone just isn't going to happen, I want the real thing.
So, why should you want one? Well, half of it is the history, the Gibson brand, and specifically the Les Paul. Played originally by Jimmy Page, and then bought even further into the limelight when it was the only style of guitar in Slash's ownership. Played by Pete Townshend, Clapton in his early days, Billy Gibbons, and no doubt every single guitarist in the Rock'n'Roll hall of fame owns a Les Paul. I'd love to join those guys, it's just a mindset.
So, the statistics and specs. It has 22 frets, with trapezoid inlays, the signature Gibson Burstbucker Pro pickups, which produce that signature Les Paul sound, that can't be imitated. This sound also comes from that beautiful body, made of a thick mahogany, sure, it's heavy, but my god is it worth it, that tone and sustain is godly, and it just feels so good, the quality is impeccable. It has a tune-o-matic bridge, which adds to that sustain and quality. It has two volume and two tone controls, and the frets are rosewood. The Les Paul Goldtop just screams class, writing this review has only increased my desire, I must have one, I'd never put it down.
I'd have the Goldtop because it appeals to me, but any guitar in the Les Paul Standard series is amazing. I love the goldtop because it's kinda standout, and with the binding it looks superb. Playing a Gibson Les Paul is a sign of class, if you play one on stage, you're far from eccentric, you just clearly know what's quality, and you want the best tone available to you. I've seen them used for all genres of music, and it still beats the top guitars of the genres. A Les Paul probably plays metal just as good as any Jackson.
So, what do you think about the Les Paul, the Goldtop and just everything Gibson? I wanna hear it guys!
Whoa, Jack's gone all metal today, aha, nah, Jack is just reviewing a guilty pleasure, a guitar I've always liked, maybe something to do with the player of whom is its creator, Alexi Laiho. The Alexi-600 is Alexi's signature model. I'm a huge fan of Alexi, and so is Kirk Hammet! He gets slated by some for in the modern age being part of a scene, playing a lot of corporate metal to sell records. This I somewhat agree with, but the first two Children of Bodom albums, Something Wild and Hatebreeder were genuine guitar greatness, shredtastic. This is back when they were still playing melodic metal, it was technical and fast and incredibly catchy, the Tokyo Warhearts live album is a must listen if you haven't already, it just shows how good they are, and how accurate Alexi is himself. Modern albums lost some of this melody and technicality, as fast running solos got replaced with heavy muted chords and outlandish whammy tricks, taking away from the true brilliance of early Children of Bodom. But despite the change, one thing remained the same, the quality of Alexi's sound. Why? Well because he's been playing an ESP for the past 7 years, his signature Alexi-600 model. ESP's reputation is unquestionable, they make fantastic guitars, that have brought in guitarists ranging from all ends of the guitar world, from Ron Wood of the Stones to Nergal of Behemoth.
So lets dive into Alexi's 600 signature model. This will be quite brief, as there isn't all that much to explain, which is possibly the beauty of this guitar. It has just one pickup, a humbucker in the bridge position. So its not got the greatest versatility? You don't need it, this guitar was only really designed for one genre, and that is metal. So what is the best possible pickup for this guitar? An EMG of course, specifically an EMG-HZ, one of the best and most popular pickups on the market, due to its undoubted quality. It's so heavy, yet so clean, it's truly marvellous. Having just the one humbucker pickup gives this guitar a real feel of class and precision, it doesn't need anything else, its got all it needs in just that one pickup, and this leaves the body looking quite empty, which is awesome. The humbucker being in the bridge position gives it the heaviest sound available. The Alexi-600 also has a licensed Floyd Rose 1000 Series tremolo. Floyd Rose are the original, and only make quality tremolo systems, this is no exception, a sound and resolute trem system that gives you great range and strength. I love floating trem's, they look really technical, and I love Floyd Rose trem's the most, because they're such good quality. The guitar has just the one knob, for volume, but I don't see why you'd ever want that lower than 11, this guitar was built for power and deafening volumes.
The design of the Alexi-600 does a lot for me, its simplicity gives it respectability. I like the yellow or the purple, but given the choice would take the yellow. It's a great V shape, it's classy, it's not trying to be too metal, it's how things should be. Its simplistic layout just makes it real quality, it doesn't need all the mod-cons to be a superb guitar, just a pickup. The guitar also has unique custom sharktooth fret inlays, wound into a ebony fretboard, which just amplifies quality. There is a cutout for access to the lower frets, which looks great and really works the part. The neck is made of maple, and it has that brilliant ESP headstock, that you have to be careful with when using, it's lethal, and metal! It has a locking nut, which adds to the tuning sturdiness. It also has grover tuners, the top machine heads.
This guitar is fantastic, I'll probably never own one due to not being a metal player in a band, but maybe one day I'll make the switch, and this will be topping my list of metal guitars. So what do you think of Bodom, Alexi and his signature Alexi-600 model? Played one? Please do leave comments. Thanks.
So I'm back from my week away, and I come back in high spirits, as I've just had the best week of my life, I met some great people, from many countries, and also built even stronger relations with my already close friends, it was a week of success and fun. I was in a multi-national band, which we named Swine Flu, and I was with a close friend and two guys from Lichtenstein, we made a song called "I'm Not An Alcoholic (I Just Love Beer)" I was really happy with it, I'll get it uploaded soon enough. As well as the music element, we visited London, took part in some team building activities at the place we were staying and we went for a surfing lesson, this was all good fun, and just made the week amazing, on top of all the jokes, laughter, drinking and lack of sleep. I've never had a better week in my life, occupied 24 hours a day, and enjoying every second of it. I was also really pleased with the performance I got out of my Ibanez S470 over the week, despite all the moving around, and carrying it between places it held up perfectly, only tuned once right before the gig, and I didn't even need to do that, it was just a precaution. So I had the greatest week ever, I hope yours was good too, I shall resume the guitar blogging later.